Staphylococcus aureus proteins SSL6 and SElX interact with neutrophil receptors as identified using secretome phage display

Cindy Fevre, Jovanka Bestebroer, Mirjam M Mebius, Carla J C de Haas, Jos A G van Strijp, J Ross Fitzgerald, Pieter-Jan A Haas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to cause colonization and invasive disease, pathogenic bacteria secrete proteins that modulate host immune defences. Identification and characterization of these proteins leads to a better understanding of the pathological processes underlying infectious and inflammatory diseases and is essential in the development of new strategies for their prevention and treatment. Current techniques to functionally characterize these proteins are laborious and inefficient. Here we describe a high-throughput functional selection strategy using phage display in order to identify immune evasion proteins. Using this technique we identified two previously uncharacterized proteins secreted by Staphylococcus aureus, SElX and SSL6 that bind to neutrophil surface receptors. SElX binds PSGL-1 on neutrophils and thereby inhibits the interaction between PSGL-1 and P-selectin, a crucial step in the recruitment of neutrophils to the site of infection. SSL6 is the first bacterial protein identified that binds CD47, a widely expressed cell surface protein recently described as an interesting target in anti-cancer therapy. Our findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of S. aureus infections and support phage display as an efficient method to identify bacterial secretome proteins interacting with humoral or cellular immune components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1646-1665
JournalCellular Microbiology
Issue number11
Early online date19 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2014


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